Here's the reason why your web browser creates so many Task Manager processes

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If you’ve opened up Task Manager recently, you may have been surprised to see a long list of processes all connected to your web browser. 

Well, Microsoft has explained why your seemingly lightweight browser has so much going on behind the scenes.

In a recent blog post, the Microsoft Edge team explained that modern browsers perform an increasingly large number of processes – they are far more than just document viewers – and this is reflected in the amount of memory they use at any given time.

Trust the process

Like many other modern web browsers, Microsoft Edge employs a multi-process architecture in order to provide better security, reliability and resource accountability. By splitting up and isolating a browser’s processes, it means that even if the renderer process – the one interacting with a website – is compromised, an attacker cannot take control of a user’s device entirely. Similarly, in terms of reliability, if one web app or extension crashes, others should remain unaffected.

“Browsers today are more like operating systems than document viewers,” explained Allison Pastewka, Program Manager at Microsoft Edge. “Users are performing an increasing number of tasks in the browser, and fewer in desktop applications. However, every web page, web app, and extension uses memory. As a result, users are often concerned about how memory usage impacts their experience.”

In addition to the main browser process and the renderer process, among the most common processes that make up a browser’s architecture are the GPU process, utility processes, plug-in processes and the crashpad handler process. 

When checking Task Manager, a user may see multiple versions of these processes for each tab or extension that they are currently running. If you’ve ever wondered why your browser was using so much of your computer’s resources, now you know.

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.